UPDATE / VIDEO / GALLERY: Rock fight back for OT win over Voodoos

Timmins Rock forward Harry Clark backhands a shot past Powassan Voodoos goalie Patrick Charette for his team-leading 33rd goal of the season during the third period of Friday night’s NOJHL contest at the McIntyre Arena. Clark’s power-play marker tied things up at 4-4 and the Rock went on to defeat the Voodoos 5-4 in overtime. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Lucas Lowe’s second goal of the game 1:44 into overtime lifted the Timmins Rock to a 5-4 win over the Powassan Voodoos at the McIntyre Arena Friday night.

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

It helped the Rock (35-14-2-0) maintain their 11 points lead on the Lumberjacks (28-14-3-2) and increased their advantage to 13 points on the Voodoos (28-17-1-2) atop the NOJHL’s East Division standings, although Hearst has four games in hand and Powassan three.

Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was, for the most part, pleased with the effort he saw from his squad Friday night.

“We just made four mistakes and I can name them all right now,” he said.

“On their first goal, Gally (Sam Gallagher) was in the battle and he leaves, they come out with the puck and he just leaves the battle. The second one, Kells (Jack Kelly) just has to chip the puck outside the blue-line and he doesn’t do it. The third one, on the penalty kill our bumper fades outside and it opened up the seam, down low. The fourth one, our weak-side winger staring at the puck behind the net doesn’t see his guy, the puck goes right by him.

“It’s hard, because we gave up another goal at the end of the first period. It was a frustrating mistake and we did it last game, too.

“It’s important not to let that distract us from how well we were playing.”

Lowe gave the Rock a 1-0 lead when he netted a power-play marker, his 13th goal of the season, 9:17 into the contest.

For the second-straight game, however, the Rock surrendered a goal with less than a minute remaining in the opening period.

Reyth Smith’s 23rd goal of the campaign, with 23.10 seconds remaining on the clock tied things up heading into the first intermission.

Henry McLellan restored the Rock’s advantage 3:10 into the middle frame, when he netted his fifth goal of the season.

But the Voodoos stormed back with three-straight goals to turn a one-goal deficit into a two-goal lead.

Dylan McElhinny’s fourth goal of the season deadlocked the contest at 2-2 just over two minutes after the Rock had retaken the lead.

Ryan Patrick then notched a power-play marker, his 16th goal of the season to put the Voodoos in front.

And Zach Turner added his 15th goal of the season to make it a 4-2 hockey game.

The Rock managed to get one of those goals back before the second intermission, as captain Felix Cadieux-Fredette netted a power-play marker, his fifth goal of the season, with 52 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Voodoos had a golden opportunity to expand their advantage at the 12:02 mark of the third period, but Mathieu MacMillan’s penalty shot attempt was denied by Rock goalie Patrick Boivin.

“The second period, I just thought we took too many penalties, but down a goal in the third period I thought our power play was fantastic,” Perry said.

“We just kept pushing, kept pushing, kept pushing and found a way to win it.”

Harry Clark’s power-play marker, his team-leading 33rd goal of the season, then tied things up at 4-4 with 4:17 remaining in regulation.

That set the stage for Lowe’s game-winning heroics 1:44 into overtime, as he netted his second goal of the game and 14th of the season.

“It all started with some good man on man in our D Zone,” Lowe said.

“They had a rush up ice and me and Freddie (Cadieux-Fredette) kind of got mixed up. He took the one guy and I stepped in and blocked the shot. Freddie got the puck out of the corner and passed it up, it was a two-on-one and I made the play to (Mason) Svarich.

“It was kind of bobbled a bunch and then he took it to the net. The puck bounced out (on the rebound) and I was there and buried it (up and over a prone Voodoos goalie Patrick Charette with the top of the net wide open).”

Given how wide open the top half of the net was, it would have been hard for Lowe’s shot to miss.

“Obviously, there is a lot of pressure on you,” he said.

“It was a wide-open shot, but the whole game was on my shoulders. I have been playing with a lot of confidence and there wasn’t much to it but to put the puck in the back of the net.”

Lowe acknowledged it felt good to get another victory against one of the two teams trying to catch the Rock for top spot in the East Division standings.

“It was just what we needed to do,” he said.

“We are coming off a championship and we are expected to win it again this year. We did it to them last year in the playoffs, sweeping them 4-0, and we did it now in the regular season (sweeping the series 4-0-0), as well.”

The Rock coach once again liked what he saw from Lowe during Friday night’s contest.

“I didn’t like the way he started the season, but he has turned into a dynamic player,” Perry said.

“The last few games, he hadn’t really been himself but he came up big for us today. He is slowly becoming one of the best players in the league. He is sneaking, so crafty and so strong on the puck.

“Reminds me a lot of Nic Pigeon’s (former Rock captain) game.”

Clark, who is tied for second in the NOJHL in assists (56), third in points (89) and fourth in goals (33) following Friday night’s action also made a favourable impression.

“He is something, isn’t he?” Perry said.

“He is a special talent. The bigger the game, he just refuses to let us lose. He is another favourable comparison to Nicolas Pigeon. When we need him the most, he was there and Harry is that type of player.”

Cadieux-Fredette turned in another solid performance on both sides of the puck, as well.

“People forget we haven’t been healthy on the back end all season, not once,” Perry said.

“We have had three or four guys out all season and Felix has been playing 28, 30, 33 minutes every single night. You know how taxing that is on somebody? But he just keeps getting it done for us. That’s why he is our leader.”

Even though Boivin was beaten four times Friday night, he was a big part of why the Rock emerged from the contest victorious.

“He was fantastic tonight, so dialed in,” Perry said.

“Those goals were not on him at all. They were mistakes we made. You give guys backdoor tap-ins, how much more can your goalie do? We made a couple of mistakes early on in this game and he came up big for us, held us in there on the penalty kill.

“He was one of, if not the biggest, reasons we came away with the two points tonight.”

Voodoos coach Peter Goulet had been hoping to see his squad start off a three-game swing through the North with two points, but he was glad to see them get at least a single point Friday night.

“Any time you get a point when you are playing a top team, it’s good but we deserved two,” he said.

“I thought we beat ourselves tonight with some undisciplined penalties, but that’s the way the game goes. We have 10 games left to learn to stay out of the penalty box.

“The last game against us, they had three power-play goals and tonight they got three power play goals against us. We just can’t take penalties. Brandon has a great power play and their guys do a great job running it.

“The difference last game was Boivin and penalties. Boivin was unconscious and he did an unbelievable job in our rink and he was good again today. We had them on the ropes, but we let them off the hook.”

“Five-on-five we were the better team, but five-on-four they were the better team. It was a good game, back-and-fourth, we played a great game.”

Voodoos captain Alex Little was once again a force on both sides of the puck Friday night and the coach also liked what he saw from his goalie.

“Alex is good every night and I thought Patrick Charette kept us in the game in the first period,” Goulet said.

“He made some great saves and I thought our other guys were all good, as well. All four lines were going.”

Boivin stopped 38 of the 42 shots he faced to earn his 18th win of the season and sixth in his past seven starts.

Charette, who turned aside 26 of the 31 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Lowe, Clark and Little (two assists) … The Rock went 3-6 on the power play, while the Voodoos were 1-5 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 1,006 … Friday’s other action saw the Lumberjacks hang on to edge the Iroquois Falls Storm 5-4 in Hearst, the Thunderbirds double up the Soo Eagles 4-2 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and the Espanola Paper Kings blank the Elliot Lake Vikings 11-0 in Massey … The Rock will return to action on Tuesday when they host the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners at the McIntyre Arena, at 7:30 p.m.

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“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel